Chains & Franchise Restaurants vs. Independent Restaurants

As an independent restaurateur or chef owner you may have asked yourself this question? Why do chain and franchise (C&F) restaurants flourish and usually increase guest count, sales and profits from year to year? Having started owned an operated 7 different restaurants over the years, I have constantly pondered this question and here are some of the reasons I came up with:

  • C & F restaurants start out with adequate funding
  • C & F usually choose great locations 
  • C & F have a realistic outlook towards sales and profit margins
  • C & F use Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) 
  • C & F use tried and true methods when hiring and firing
  • C & F have excellent ongoing training programs
  • C & F use routine written evaluations to increase employee performance
  • C & F use “Secret Shoppers” to evaluate their day-to-day restaurant performance on an ongoing basis

Of course there are many other factors that fall into the category of making restaurants work or not work. Sometimes it’s just dumb luck, however that is rare in today’s world of hospitality. However it’s my belief the reasons I have stated above have plenty to do with the success of C & F restaurants.

Let’s break a few of these down.

First off  C & F restaurants start well capitalized because they do their homework and use real numbers and quality bids for things like: restaurant design, equipment, management, training costs, legal and accounting fees etc.. Very little of the upfront costs are left up to chance. They usually have a portion of their start-up funds set aside for  unexpected opening costs. Usually 10%-15% of your total cost is a good number to set aside.  

We hear it often, location, location, location, yes this one phrase is most certainly in my top 3 of the most important things to keep in mind when opening a restaurant.  Yes you can be successful without the best location but the question then becomes: How successful will you be, how long will it take you to reach and then surpass your personal and financial goals?

Written standard operating procedures are the heart blood of any quality restaurant operation. SOP’s keep everything moving in a constant forward direction towards specific planned goals and objectives. SOP’s give every team member the ability to o know their particular job function and what is expected of them on a daily basis. 

We all know hiring the right person for the right job at the right time and for the right salary or wage is paramount. It can be the basis for cost controls/pricing and has a predominate affect on not only sales but profits as well. Conversely letting someone go or firing an employee can be just as important. Usually if an under performing employee is kept on your team too long, that negative team member can have a rippling effect on quality team members and put the team performance into a downward spiral.   

Training both pre-opening and ongoing keep SOP’s top of mind. Without proper hospitality and culinary training for each and every position along written job function manuals, you will probably end up with many important practices, that define your restaurant business, falling right through the cracks.  

C & F use “secret shoppers” periodically to deliver information that might be hard for the owner or management team to glean on an everyday basis. Often times a trained new set of eyes on your hospitality business is exactly what your operation needs to make proper decisions on present and future business needs and practices.

In light of the “Secret Shopper Service” and its importance to the Chains & Franchise restaurants across the country I have designed a new way of looking at the hospitality consulting business and its potential ramification with respect to the bottom line. I will personally “Secret Shop” your business for the cost of the food and beverage for 2 guests to include gratuity and tax. Within 72 hours I will supply you with a detailed report of my culinary experience and findings. This will give you a jump start at looking more introspectively into your business through the eyes of a seasoned restaurateur and hospitality consultant. After reviewing my detailed report you can then determine whether or not you would like to continue the periodic “Secret Shopper Service” and/or enlist my professional services as your hospitality consultant.  


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